Is Your Business Prepared to Stay in Business?
Posted at 11 a.m.
We all have relationships. These relationships vary if you are an employee of a company, serving residents as part of the local government, or providing services to customers as the leader of a company. These relationships are vital because at the end of the chain of interactions and transactions is a person that is relying on you to get a job done.
Being proactive in ensuring these relationships and interactions continue without interruption is the heart of continuity planning.
In short, continuity planning ensures the ability to deliver resources to stakeholders by providing reliable options. It fills a vital void in the lifecycle in both business and government processes.
In this video, Avery Church, Fairfax County’s continuity program manager, highlights continuity of operations and the essential planning necessary for the success of a continuity program.
Watch the full video, including tips on how to be prepared and an interview with the county’s Police Department on its continuity of operations (COOP) plan.
Continuity Awareness Week in Fairfax County
Ongoing maintenance of a continuity program in business and government organizations plays a significant part in an effective resiliency capability. That’s why Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors, on behalf of all residents of Fairfax County, proclaimed the week of May 14-18, as Continuity Awareness Week in Fairfax County.
The board proclamation urges all business and government organizations to take steps to increase resiliency and reduce operational risks by becoming familiar with and engaging in continuity planning. This special week recognizes both the for-profit and not-for-profit efforts to minimize operational disruptions.
The county’s Continuity of Operations Program was created in 2009 with the formation of an advisory work group to respond to the spread of the Influenza A virus. The program has expanded to cover all county missions and has been recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an example of a best practice for state, territorial, tribal and local governments continuity of operations planning.
Continuity of Operations Planning
Continuity planning as we know it has been around since the 1970s, and even earlier in other iterations. Internationally, continuity planning has been used greatly in areas that were highly susceptible to natural disasters. For example, Japan and New Zealand developed plans to manage the effects of earthquakes.
The concept of continuity planning naturally expanded to include other known disruptions like terrorism, pandemics, extreme weather, financial and cyber. This growth has created a proven planning principle that is an umbrella for all actions related to mitigating against operational disruptions.
More recently, we have realized that the clear majority of these disruptions have the same mitigation, response and recovery footprint. Instead of focusing on creating custom plans for the specific disruption, as was done in the 1970s, the better investment proved to be focusing on plans that were mnemonic and applicable to a large swath of events.
Continuity planning focuses on ensuring proper program oversight, management of the programs reputation, planning against anticipated threats to our operations and performing each initiative in the most effective manner.
In modern continuity planning, we place emphasis on improving our weaknesses against these anticipated threats to our operations. Universally, these threats include vendors and their associated supply chains, the availability of our human assets, the vulnerability of IT and the persistence of single points of failure. These form the footprint that we find in post-disruptions, so focusing our mitigation and recovery efforts on these areas will greatly improve our capabilities.
For more information, contact Church, continuity program manager, at 571-350-1000, TTY 711.